8 Engagement Ring Trends for 2021 That Are Anything but Boring
Coming to a ring finger near you.
Is there an engagement in your future? Then you might be starting to think about engagement ring shopping—with your partner, for your partner, or just to get more acquainted with different diamond cuts and band settings (you know, so you can *casually* drop hints to your other half). But even for those who aren’t expecting an engagement, with the arrival of proposal season—the time of year between November and February when 37 percent of couples get engaged—it’s hard not to have sparklers on the brain.
Whatever your personal jewelry style, you really can’t go wrong with a classic diamond engagement ring. Beyond its beauty, brilliance, and symbolism, a diamond is not only timeless, but basically always on trend. According to The Knot 2019 Jewelry and Engagement Study (a retrospective survey of 21,000 couples who got engaged between 2018 and 2019), 83 percent of people choose a round-cut white diamond for a center stone. While this classic sparkler style maintains its status as the most popular center stone choice, jewelry designers keep finding fresh ways to make engagement ring options feel totally unique, either by reinventing tried-and-true styles or thinking totally outside the box. And, of course, the designs always evolve based on what customers are currently craving.
So what’s new in the engagement ring world—and what’s coming back—in the coming year? From rose-cut diamonds to alexandrite (don’t worry, we’ll explain), wedding and engagement experts from The Knot and WeddingWire walk through the top engagement ring trends for 2021.
Engagement ring shoppers are going green—and we're not just talking about sustainability (we'll get to that in a minute). Emeralds are having a serious moment right now, and they're expected to be the "it" stone of 2021, says Shelley Brown, senior fashion and beauty editor at The Knot.
"Emeralds are associated with serenity and new beginnings, making them a symbolic choice for many to-be-weds," Brown says. "It’s important to note, however, that emeralds are a softer stone than diamonds, which means that emerald ring-wearers should treat their engagement ring with care, clean it regularly, and try to avoid knocking it against hard surfaces."
The ultimate style paradox: What's old is always new again. Vintage rings are as beloved as ever, if not more so. Beyond being a sustainable ring purchase, antique rings are exquisitely designed, full of character, and hold sentimental value. But even couples who are buying new still want those vintage vibes.
"Vintage engagement rings are all the rage for detail-oriented to-be-weds," Brown says. "While some will opt to repurpose a family heirloom or estate jewelry, others will purchase new rings with vintage-inspired settings. Intricacies like milgrain (a beaded metal pattern), filigree (metal wire details), and elaborate halos are examples of vintage ring details."
If you've never heard of a rose-cut diamond, you're in for a treat. "Invented back in the 1500s, it has a flat bottom and a domed top, resembling a rose bud," Brown says, adding that you actually get more bang for your buck with this savvy (and stunning) cut. "These diamonds offer an antique look, and while they can look less brilliant than other diamond cuts, their flat bottoms make the stone look larger than its actual carat weight."
This non-traditional pick is incredibly chic, but it also holds seriously romantic symbolism. "Two stone engagement rings are also called ‘Toi et Moi’ rings, meaning ‘you and me’ in French. The two stones in these rings symbolize two souls becoming one (can't get more sentimental than that)," Brown says. "Plus, they offer to-be-weds twice the bling, making them a popular option this proposal season and one of our favorite trends for 2021." Consider this ring trend a true ode to modern love.
Thrice the bling, please! Samantha Iacia, associate editor at WeddingWire, says we should prepare to see lots of three-stone stunners in the coming months.
"Many of these rings utilize either round or step-cut side stones, like baguettes and trapezoids, to accentuate a larger center gem on a plain band. The overall look is classic with a little oomph," she says.
Iacia also predicts a rise in blue-stone rings. Sapphires are a classic, of course, but they're far from the only blue-hued gem to choose from. "Aquamarines, tourmalines, topaz, tanzanite, and blue opals are just a few of the trending stones we expect to see more of in the coming months," she says. "The great thing about blue stones is they look beautiful with both platinum and yellow gold settings."
Ethical, eco-conscious shopping doesn’t stop at wedding jewelry. Young couples care about how and where their engagement rings are sourced and made. Iacia says lab-grown diamonds are becoming a go-to for sustainability-minded ring-seekers. “These diamonds have spiked in popularity not only because they’re sourced through transparent, conflict-free methods, but also because they can be sold at a lower price, depending on the jeweler and setting,” Iacia explains. “We’re also seeing an increase in the use of recycled metals and stones for engagement rings.
Stray from tradition with a flash of color. Alexandrite is a gorgeous gemstone that's making a name for itself in the engagement ring world. lately. "This stunning stone will change colors based on how the light hits it, ranging from purple and fuchsia to green, blue, and even orange," says Iacia. "It'll be a popular option for this proposal season, especially for to-be-weds in search of something totally unique and fashion-forward."